LEXINGTON, Ky. - Park University is among an AVCA-record 822 teams to earn the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award, breaking last year's record of 764 teams to earn the award. Initiated in the 1992-93 season, the award honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that maintained at least a 3.3 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.


"It's a big award for us, because I think it shows we don't just win on the court," said Park coach Mike Talamantes. "We take that part very, very seriously, and I think that shows in the win-loss column, but the work we do in the classroom is more important. This is a very important award to our program."


In addition to its academic superlatives, the Pirates made their fourth-straight trip to Sioux City and the NAIA Volleyball National Championship, ending the season in the 2016 NAIA Volleyball Semifinals, ending the year at 36-4 with one All-American, NAIA National Player of the Year Wendy Romero, and one Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete, Daniela Duarte, who broke a school record for digs on the way to being named a 2016-17 Arthur Ashe Sports-Scholar Award Winner. Women's volleyball was also one of 11 Park teams named to the NAIA Scholar Teams list in 2016-17, with a team GPA of 3.52, the second-best grade point average posted by a Park University team. 


In all, 51 NAIA teams were recogized on the list, which can be viewed in full at https://www.avca.org/awards/2016-2017-avca-team-academic-award-recipients.html.


The AVCA Team Academic Award, celebrating its 25th year, is the single largest award offered by quantity of schools, players and coaches honored. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients have increased every single year but two, while amassing a 532 team increase over the span of the last decade. Since the award's inception in 1993, the amount of award winners has increased from 62 to its current number of 822.


Girls high school led the way with 277 recipients, an increase of 17 over last year. NCAA Division I honored 145 programs, while NCAA Division II notched 119 honorees. Once again, NCAA Division III had the second-most honorees this year with a total of 150 schools, a 10-school increase over last year's record number.


Prior to 2016-2017, only 29 teams had attained the pinnacle of volleyball success in both earning the AVCA Team Academic Award and winning their respective collegiate national championship in the same academic year. This year, the AVCA is proud to recognize five programs that excelled in the classroom and on the court: Stanford University (NCAA Division I), Concordia University, St. Paul (NCAA Division II), Calvin College (NCAA Division III), Hastings College (NAIA), and Ohio State University (NCAA Division I-II Men).


With 2016-2017 marking the 25th anniversary of the award, the AVCA is introducing additional honors to schools that have a minimum Team Academic Award streak of 15 years, and also for schools that scored the highest GPAs in their respective divisions. In order for a school to be awarded as an honor roll recipient, their division had to reach a minimum number of nominations. For NCAA Division I, II, III, and girls high school, their nomination number allows for a top-25 honor roll. For NAIA women, a top-10, with two-year college, collegiate men, collegiate beach, and high school boys garnering a top-5.


Additionally, schools that reached their Dig Pink fundraising goals through the Side-Out Foundation will continue to be honored. The 2016-2017 season saw Dig Pink participants and AVCA Team Academic Award winners raise $91,671 for breast cancer research.


Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program's 25-year history, with exactly 8,461 awards been given out in total.



Division                                 Number of recipients 
NCAA Division I Women                      145 
NCAA Division II Women                     118 
NCAA Division III Women                    150 
NAIA Women                                         51 
Two-Year College                                  21 
NCCAA                                                    1
Collegiate Men                                       19 
High School Girls                            277 (2 sand) 
High School Boys                                   21 
College Beach                                        19


NAIA Teams Recognized

  • Baker University
  • Bellevue University
  • Bluefield College
  • Campbellsville University
  • Carroll College (MT)
  • Central Methodist University
  • Clarke University
  • Concordia University (NE)
  • Culver-Stockton College
  • Dakota State University
  • Davenport University
  • Dordt College
  • Eastern Oregon University
  • Georgetown College
  • Graceland University
  • Hastings College
  • Indiana Institute of Technology
  • Indiana University Kokomo 
  • John Brown University
  • Judson University
  • Kansas Wesleyan University
  • Lawrence Technological University
  • Lourdes University
  • Marian University (IN)
  • McPherson College
  • Midland University
  • Milligan College
  • Missouri Valley College
  • Montreat College
  • Olivet Nazarene University
  • Peru State College
  • Presentation College
  • Rocky Mountain College
  • Southeastern University
  • Southern Oregon University
  • Spring Arbor University
  • St Louis College of Pharmacy
  • Sterling College
  • Taylor University
  • Texas Wesleyan University
  • Trinity Christian College
  • Trinity International University
  • Union College (KY)
  • University of Great Falls
  • University of Michigan-Dearborn
  • University of Mobile
  • University of the Cumberlands
  • Warner University
  • Wayland Baptist University
  • York College (NE)